As my kids grow older, we are beginning to extend our adventures. Recently, we took a leap into the ocean, a previously uncharted territory for my two. At 8 and 10, I had no idea if they would be able to SNUBA or even like it. Here’s what I learned about SNUBA with kids.
What is SNUBA?
SNUBA is essentially SCUBA diving without the hassle. As a certified SCUBA diver, I was skeptical about SNUBA but had to admit at the end of our dive, that it was essentially a worry-free SCUBA session. You breathe through a regulator but instead of carrying a tank of air, your air supply floats on a raft at the surface. You are accompanied by a guide at all times who monitors your air consumption.
Can you SNUBA with kids?
Where SNUBA gets particularly interesting is when you attempt to SNUBA with kids. My two are adventurous but I was quite nervous that SNUBA would be too much for them. We first attempted SNUBA at Beaches Resorts Turks & Caicos. We tried it out for a few minutes in one of the pools. At this point, I realized they could handle being underwater at 4 feet but had no idea what would happen at 20 feet. I decided to throw caution to the wind, sign up for a full session and find out what it was like to SNUBA with kids.
SNUBA with Kids: From Introduction to Ocean
Once you take on a full SNUBA session with kids a few things happen. To begin, you and the kids are given a 15-minute intro. While I understood the conversation about safety and equalizing, I was pretty sure my 8-year-old did not. The SNUBA instructor then geared a secondary talk to the kids in a language they fully understood. He spoke about respect for the ocean and individually taught them how to safely equalize. After this talk, I felt ready to go.
We entered the ocean as a foursome. Me, the instructor, and my two kids. I concentrated on Charlie who is 8 and helped her safely get to the reef. When I arrived, I was surprised to see my 10-year-old had beat me to it. He looked exceptionally comfortable under the water and both kids eagerly began swimming. Our SNUBA guide checked to make sure everyone was okay, went over our hand signals, and then led us forward.
Within seconds, we encountered a grouper fish that seemed well-acquainted with our guide. The fish took to Will and began swimming the dive with him. At one point, I looked over to find Will rubbing the fish’s belly. It was truly a magical moment and a highlight of our vacation.
During the 25-minute dive, my kids stayed at 20 feet below water without surfacing. This to me was simply mind-blowing. My major concern was that they would head up to the surface every five minutes which never occurred. We saw sharks, tons of fish and explored the reef with ease.
Why is SNUBA a Good Starting Point?
I emerged from the water having quickly learned a few things about SNUBA. First off, it’s a lot more relaxing than SCUBA. I have proudly held a SCUBA diving license for over 24 years and absolutely feel at ease under the water. Still, I find that since I don’t dive regularly, I am constantly doing refresher courses before my tropical vacations. If given the choice, I would in most circumstances choose to skip the refreshers and do a few SNUBA dives on our next vacation over going through the process again.
Secondly, SNUBA is an awesome starting point for anyone who is curious about SCUBA diving. I have many friends who have taken hours of resort dive courses in pools only to find out that they are not comfortable SCUBA diving in the ocean. With SNUBA, you can do a short introduction and then actually head out in the water to see if you enjoy the feeling without spending a ton of money first.
Investing in a SNUBA with kids session is also a great way to learn if your kid will take to the water and be okay with a regulator in their mouth before signing up for a full PADI session. Now that we are at home, I am looking into signing both of mine up for PADI knowing that they loved being in the water and were able to handle swimming with a regulator for an extended period.
Where can you SNUBA?
There are plenty of opportunities for you to SNUBA with kids. Personally, we have seen it in Hawaii, the Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, and Florida. You can check your destination for a SNUBA operator here. A quick glance showed operators in 33 regions including most of the Caribbean, Japan, and Australia.
SNUBA is available at all three Beaches Resorts locations.
SNUBA with Kids – Available Programs
Photo provided by Snuba International
At 6 years old, kids can try a SNUBA DOO program where they wear an inflatable vest that keeps them at the surface with about 10 feet of line from the raft. It is an excellent alternative to the much more frustrating activity of snorkeling with a six-year-old.
At 8 years old, children can fully participate in the SNUBA Adventure Tour. This is the regular tour that lasts approximately 25 minutes.
I was definitely impressed with our first foray into SNUBA. As I plan our upcoming vacations, I am searching for more resorts and locations where this option is available. I would highly recommend it for anyone with young, competent swimmers who are ready to start exploring the ocean. I went in with hesitation as to whether my kids could do it and came out truly baffled by how seamless the experience was. Go ahead and try SNUBA with kids. You won’t regret it.